Following the extremely successful virtual pandemic-edition of the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival® in 2020, Festival Directors Gwen and Brian Callahan were thrilled to present the 2021 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival as a hybrid event for the first time! The 26th annual festival took place with live screenings October 1-3 at the beautiful Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon with more than 60 short and feature films, visiting filmmakers, and in-person audiences. The virtual edition, with bonus streaming exclusive content, streamed worldwide October 8-10 with live and recorded filmmaker Q&As.
Every year, a few meaningful awards are given to honor the films that truly exemplify the festival’s celebration of cinematic adaptations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and his contemporaries, as well as other works in the genres of Cosmic Horror, the Weird tale, and the Uncanny. The Award winners for the 26th Annual H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival were announced on Monday.
Out of the 6 independent feature films screened at the festival, The Fall of Usher, earned the Best Feature award with standout performances by leads Riker Hill and Savannah Schafer. The debut feature by Kentucky filmmaker Brian Cunningham presents a beautifully modern and nuanced retelling of Poe’s stories and provides a deep exploration of his favored themes of grief, madness, and loss.
Best Short award went to “The Relic,” directed by J.M. Logan. This frenetically paced tale of archaeologists gone wild shows us the third act of what feels like a classic Call of Cthulhu® role playing game scenario with horrific practical monster effects, and a very satisfying Cosmic Horror ending.
The award for Best Adaptation went to “The Book in the House” by Gianni Di Ninno and Danilo Marabotto. This beautiful black and white translation of the Lovecraft story “The Picture in the House,” had its World Premiere at the festival. Di Ninno and Marabotto shot the film 35 years ago, but the film was lost and then rediscovered in 2010. In 2020, under quarantine during the pandemic in Italy, more scenes were shot with the original actor Franco Leo, and they were able to finally finish the film!
The HPLFF audience is extremely engaged with all of the films that are shown, and nearly all audience members vote for the highly coveted Audience Choice Award. Top runners up were “Transfer” by Jonas Govaerts, “Dice” by Michael Squid, and Exegesis Lovecraft by Qais Pasha! This year’s winner, “Good Head” by Matt Servitto was truly a crowd pleaser, delivering a well rounded package of supernatural horror, gooey effects, and pitch perfect comedic timing.
In the annual screenplay competition, The Haunter of the Dark by Brian Hauser and Philip R. Garrett stood out among the 60+ entries. The feature screenplay delivers on the Weird and uncanny as it presents a fresh and thoroughly modern mashup of the Lovecraft stories “The Dreams in the Witch House” and “The Haunter of the Dark.”
Each year, teams of filmmakers are challenged to make a Lovecraftian short film using a required prop and line of dialogue in just 72 hours. The qualifying entries are screened at the festival and the audience decides who did it best. This year’s Lovecraft Under the Gun winner was “Terror of the Lost Utensils” by Trash People from the Dump, aka Lora and Theo Friess, for their imaginative mythology surrounding mysterious silverware, complete with their signature musical elements!
Congratulations to the winners!
Submissions for the 2022 Festival are currently open on FilmFreeway.com/HPLovecraftFilmFestival. The final submission deadline is August 2, 2022.
The 27th Annual H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival will take place October 7-9, 2022 at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, OR